After Friday’s night 5k, we headed back to the hotel for dinner, shower and sleep. It’s not the typical Las Vegas agenda you may think of, but I’ve been to the city numerous time for business and pleasure that I’m not really lured in by Sin City’s other attractions when in town for the Remix Challenge. Running is the focus of the weekend.
The most planning required for the half marathon is the fueling and nutrition plan. Since this half marathon takes place in the evening – as opposed to early in the morning like almost every other race – getting the nutrition right is the most key element to preparation. My plan was to visit the The Buffet at Aria around 9 am for a nutritious breakfast slightly heavier than usual, then a light lunch around 2 pm, and gels/bars as needed prior to race starting close to 4:30 pm. At the buffet, I had eggs, fruit, yogurt and a muffin. For lunch I had a medium sized grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and a few sweet potato fries. It had sounded like a good plan initially, but I realized my plan of eating “just a little bit more than usual” to get enough fuel ended up being way too much food. I started the race feeling way too full and sluggish.
We hopped on the shuttle bus and headed over for the pre-race concert from Kid Rock. I was fairly neutral about seeing his performance since I don’t consider
myself a huge fan, but I wanted to still take advantage of seeing his performance. I’m glad I went and he put on a good show. I can only imagine how different it is to perform for runners thinking about their races, versus concert goers that would most likely have a drink in their hands and be cheering more raucously. While at the pre-race concert, I received an alert on my phone that there was a wind advisory. I didn’t think much of it – hey, it’s the desert and surely a bit windy – but later learned how ominous a wind advisory could be.
My biggest complaint about this race in 2014 was the amount of time we had to stand in our corral before we could even start the race. Rock ‘n’ Roll seems to have heard the feedback about this complaint and corrals were released closer together. We lined up in our corral and watched the skies taking a dark turn. The wind started to pick up and the palm trees were swaying violently in the strong wind. We inched closer to the start line and officially started the race about 40 minutes later (an improvement over last year’s wait of over an hour!).
Almost immediately after I started the race, it started raining. The temperature was in the low 50s and the rain made it feel even colder. It rained, alternating between lightly and moderately, for about the first hour of the race. I still enjoyed the first 5 miles of the race, and felt like I was making decent time (given my utter lack of training). The wind was about 20 miles per hour but tolerable. As I approached about the half way point, I started to really struggle. I was undertrained, tired, my stomach was too full, and I was cold and wet. I really just wanted the race to be over, so I just focused on one foot in front of the other. I walked when I felt like it and ran when I felt like it. While I greatly appreciated not having to wait as long at the start line, this strategy had an unfortunate snowball effect and put way too many runners on the course at the same time. The course was crowded the entire race, and formed a funnel of people as you moved closer to the finish line.
Then we turned around mile 9 to head out of downtown and south back down the strip. I was happy to be headed back to the barn, so to speak, and just wanted to finish the race. This was the first time I had the feeling of I’m over this. I just want to finish and be done with it. So I worked towards finishing. But as soon as I made the final turn, there was an instant rush of wind. We essentially turned to face a giant wind tunnel the last 4 miles to the finish line. Oh yes, that wind advisory….The winds were ripping over 35 miles per hour. I was still wet from the earlier rain. This sucks. I just want to finish and be done with it. I had been watching my time slowly slip away but thought I was still on pace for a finish around 2:40 (note, my PR is 2:30 and at Ironman Augusta 70.3 my time was 2:45, so I would have been happy with 2:40). But then that damn wind tunnel kept coming at me, and I had to stop to a walk while physically leaning into the wind to not fall over. THIS SUCKS! I looked around to see several other racers having to employ the same technique. A few strong folks fought their way to keep running despite being lashed by the wind. But I just couldn’t do it. I was too tired. I walked the majority of those last miles while being beaten by the gusts. I just want to finish and be done with it.
Goal: Have fun and enjoy the strip. Don’t injure yourself and run at a moderate pace
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Distance: 13.1 miles
Conditions: Around 53° F with 25% humidity at race start.
Total time: 2:53:43
Pace: 13:09 min/mile
Outcome: Well, that sucked… 🙁
Overall, I still really enjoyed the weekend. Participating in the Remix Challenges are always fun, and I like the extra medals. And the experience of running down the closed strip in Las Vegas is really exciting and novel. But I was undertrained and the weather wasn’t great, and I finally realized how tired I was from a year of hard training and racing. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon just wasn’t my race this year.
We stayed a few extra days in Las Vegas and enjoyed a mini racecation before heading back to Dallas. I also joined the fun #WeRunSocial meetup. In just 3 weeks, I’ll be heading down to San Antonio for my fourth Rock ’n’ Roll race of the year!